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Transgender Veteran Joins Biden’s Transition Team
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 24: L.G.B.T. activists and their supporters rally in support of transgender people on the steps of New York City Hall, October 24, 2018 in New York City. The group gathered to speak out against the Trump administration's stance toward transgender people. Last week, The New York Times reported on an unreleased administration memo that proposes a strict biological definition of gender based on a person's genitalia at birth. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

A transgender veteran joined Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s transition team at the Department of Defense.

Shawn Skelley, who served 20 years as a naval flight officer in the U.S. Navy, now serves as vice president of the non-profit “Out in National Security,” and is just one example of the diversity the Biden administration hopes to exhibit, according to NBC News.

Skelley became the first transgender veteran to be appointed by a president in 2013, when President Barack Obama appointed Skelley to various positions, such as special assistant to the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics at the Department of Defense and also director of the Office of the Executive Secretariat at the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Obama later appointed Skelley as a commissioner on the newly made National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service in 2017.

“Joe Biden has made clear that he wants the next administration to be reflective of the diversity of America,” Elliot Imse, the Victory Institute’s director of communications, told the outlet. “And we know that Biden believes LGBTQ people are an important part of that diverse America. So, we expect the next administration to appoint more LGBTQ people to political positions than ever before, and we hope that it is also the most diverse group of LGBTQ appointees in American history.”

The Victory Institute, which describes itself as “the only national organization dedicated to elevating openly LGBTQ leaders who can further equality at all levels of government,” and has partnered with approximately 30 other LGBTQ organizations to form a “Presidential Appointments Initiative,” which “works with LGBTQ leaders and pro-equality presidential administrations to ensure LGBTQ people are included in government,” according the group’s website. “When LGBTQ presidential appointees are empowered, they can significantly influence the policies and direction of agencies and the executive branch to make positive change for LGBTQ people.”

“LGBTQ Victory Institute and our partners are working with the transition team to field and identify potential candidates for appointed positions in the upcoming Biden-Harris administration,” the group continued, further explaining that their goals include pressing the Biden administration to have an LGBTQ cabinet member, an LGBTQ Supreme Court justice, transgender ambassadors, and that “openly LGBTQ people receive equitable representation among presidential appointees.”

In a statement released earlier this week, the Biden-Harris Transition Team said in part:

Finally, President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris are proud to have one of the most diverse agency review teams in presidential transition history. Of the hundreds of ART members to be announced, more than half are women, and approximately 40 percent represent communities historically underrepresented in the federal government, including people of color, people who identify as LGBTQ+, and people with disabilities. The President-elect and Vice President-elect are committed to building an administration that looks like America.

Related: ‘Shattered A Lavender Ceiling’: Transgender Person Of Color Elected To Kansas Legislature

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